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COVID-19: Iraq tops 400,000 cases, adds over 2,200 in 24 hours

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Iraq has increased its all-time coronavirus infections to 400,000, adding 2,206 new cases over the past 24 hours, according to a Sunday announcement by the federal health ministry.

A ministry statement mentioned that it had conducted 16,538 tests in the past 24 hours, making for 2,487,183 such tests since the beginning of the outbreak in Iraq.

According to the latest health figures, the total number of infections in Iraq reached 402,330, including 336,157 recoveries and 9,852 deaths.

Starting in May, Iraq began recording a growing number of cases in a day, as testing rates increased and lockdown measures were eased, including the reopening of border crossings with Iran.

Iran was the original epicenter of the virus in the Middle East, due to its close ties to China, where the virus first appeared. Iran now has the highest number of coronavirus cases of any country in the Middle East, followed by Iraq.

Read More: COVID-19 spikes again in Iran, with regional implications
Iraq’s situation became progressively worse through August and September when authorities were reporting upwards of 5,000 infections in a day.

Senior government officials are now considering reimposing a countrywide curfew, according to Hazem al-Jumaili, a health ministry official.

The decision would be discussed during a meeting by the federal committee for National Health and Safety, Jumaili said, noting that coronavirus cases are increasing worldwide.

He added that the increase in the number of infections in neighboring countries marks "a dangerous development" that the Iraqi government needs to confront with "additional preventive measures."

Jumaili also repeated warnings that the risks of virus transmission are higher in the fall and winter seasons, "especially inside enclosed places."

"The Ministry of Health urges citizens to wear masks and adhere to social distancing, and affirms that there is no curfew at this point," said the spokesperson of the health ministry, Saif al-Badr.
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